Marijuana, hallucinogen use at all-time high among US young adults

Credit: CC0 Public Domain.

In a study from the University of Michigan, scientists found that marijuana and hallucinogen use in the past year reported by young adults 19 to 30 years old increased significantly in 2021 compared to five and 10 years ago.

Rates of past-month nicotine vaping, which have been gradually increasing in young adults for the past four years, also continued their generally upward trend in 2021, despite leveling off in 2020.

Past-month marijuana vaping, which had strongly decreased in 2020, rebounded to pre-pandemic levels in 2021.

The team also found alcohol remains the most-used substance among adults in the study, though past-year, past-month, and daily drinking have been decreasing over the past decade.

Binge drinking (five or more drinks in a row in the past two weeks) rebounded in 2021 from a historic low in 2020, during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On the other hand, high-intensity drinking (having 10 or more drinks in a row in the past two weeks) has been steadily increasing over the past decade and in 2021 reached its highest level ever recorded since first measured in 2005.

Since 1975, the Monitoring the Future study has annually surveyed substance use behaviors and attitudes among a nationally representative sample of teens.

Participants self-report their drug use behaviors across three primary time periods—lifetime, past year (12 months), and past month (30 days).

Data for the 2021 survey were collected online April-October 2021. Key findings in the young adult group include:

Marijuana Use: Past-year, past-month, and daily marijuana use (use on 20 or more occasions in the past 30 days) reached the highest levels ever recorded since these trends were first monitored in 1988.

Daily marijuana use also significantly increased during these time periods, reported by 11% of young adults in 2021, a significant increase from 8% in 2016 and 6% in 2011.

Hallucinogen use: Past-year hallucinogen use had been relatively stable over the past few decades until 2020 when reports of use started to increase dramatically.

In 2021, 8% of young adults reported past-year hallucinogen use, representing an all-time high since the category was first surveyed in 1988.

Types of hallucinogens reported by participants included LSD, MDMA, mescaline, peyote, “shrooms” or psilocybin, and PCP.

The survey also showed big decreases in past-month cigarette smoking by young adults and nonmedical use of opioid medications in the past year (surveyed as “narcotics other than heroin”) compared to 10 years ago. Both substances have been declining steadily in use for the past decade.

The study was conducted by Megan Patrick et al.

If you care about cannabis, please read studies about cannabis use linked to more heart attacks, and high-potency cannabis may affect your memory functions.

For more information about health, please read studies about cannabis hemp oil may treat chronic neuropathic pain and heavy cannabis use may decrease the incidence of diabetes.

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